“Carbon neutral”—New Oxford American Dictionary’s 2006 “word of the year”

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The New Oxford American Dictionary will add “carbon neutral’’ to this year’s editions, having named it 2006 “word of the year.” The editor in chief of the dictionary says, “Our goal is to choose a word that is on the cusp of ubiquity.” We also like Merriam-Webster’s word of the year—“truthiness”—something we’ve been calling attention to here in Washington.

“The cusp of ubiquity”!

Thanks to Central Pennsylvania’s Home Page for this item.

CentreDaily.com
Posted on Mon, Jan. 08, 2007

carbon neutral

OXFORD DICTIONARY PICKS ECOLOGICAL ADJECTIVE AS ITS NO. 1 WORD FROM 2006

By Paul Rogers
Mercury News

…In a tip of the hat to the growing scientific, cultural and political awareness of global warming, the New Oxford American Dictionary will add “carbon neutral’’ to this year’s editions, having named it 2006 “word of the year.’‘

The word—actually two words—is an adjective that refers to the point at which greenhouse gas emissions from one’s activities, such as driving or flying, are offset by planting trees or investing in solar, wind or other clean-energy projects….

[T]he growing movement toward carbon neutrality reflects a profound change in which mainstream Americans—and politicians—have started to take global warming seriously, the dictionary’s publishers say.

“Our goal is to choose a word that is on the cusp of ubiquity,’’ said Erin McKean, sounding every bit like the editor in chief she is of the New Oxford American Dictionary.

…“When a word is hip, only a few people know about it,’’ said Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the School of Information at the University of California-Berkeley. “But there comes a certain point where you don’t have to explain the word. It was about 2 1/2 years ago, for example, when you could just say `blog’ and you didn’t have to explain it.’‘

He added, “I think it is clear that `carbon neutral’ is a concept that is going to be around for a while.’‘

…Other dictionaries also picked words of the year….`Truthiness,’’ a term from comedian Stephen Colbert that means “preferring facts one wishes to be true, rather than facts known to be true,’’ was Merriam-Webster’s.

Copyright 2007 The Centre Daily Times

 

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